Council Matters for Special Council on October 26, 2020

Council met for about 30 minutes during our Special Council meeting on October 26, 2020 

I don’t generally write Council Matters for Special Council Meetings, but felt I should make an exception for the most recent meeting. We met to discuss a challenging temporary use permit regarding the Oak and Vine Estate. Here is some context to our discussion, and a brief history of the file.

On August 15, 2018, the Council of the day considered a request for a temporary use permit (watch here beginning at 1:21:41) to hold 14 weddings at #2-6380 Lakes Road (Oak and Vine Estate). TUPs allow local governments to permit the temporary uses of land on a trial basis to see how compatible they are with surrounding land uses before considering them on a more permanent basis through a zoning amendment.

The land in question is zoned A2, which does not permit weddings/special events. Council received correspondence and heard from members of the public citing concerns of noise if the TUP was granted. Council also heard from the proponent, who had garnered community support for the TUP/potential business. Weighing correspondence and what was heard from the public and the proponent, Council granted the TUP for 14 weddings, for an 18-month period, beginning May 1, 2018.

Since the TUP was issued, the proponent has made many upgrades to their property, but wedding events have been held that were in contravention of the terms and conditions of the TUP and building permit requirements. There had also been neighbourhood complaints about disturbances and building safety issues with the wedding venue’s operation. At a regular meeting on October 21, Council considered an application to extend the TUP to October 31, 2021.

In the staff report on pages 44-67 of the October 21 Council Agenda, staff estimated that five weddings had occurred since the original TUP application was issued which would alter the number of events remaining under the permit from 14 to 9. However, submissions were received in response to the TUP extension application that claim the subject property has been used for more than five weddings and for other public gatherings since the TUP was originally issued. 

Due to non-compliance issues, safety concerns and neighbourhood disturbances, staff recommended denying the TUP extension.  After some discussion (watch here beginning at 1:02:30), Council decided to grant the TUP extension until October 31, 2021, under the condition that the applicant obtained an occupancy permit for an assembly use by January 31, 2021. Council also limited the number of allowable weddings during the extension to four.

This special Council meeting (video of discussion here) was held specifically to determine whether there was support to reconsider the TUP extension. Ultimately, only myself and one Councilor voted in favour of the reconsideration motion and it failed. As a result, the decision from October 21, to extend the permit, but limit weddings to four, still stands. The applicant must still obtain a building permit for an assembly use, and can still work towards a permanent re-zoning should they want to continue holding weddings in their property.

Our next regular meeting will take place electronically on Wednesday, November 4, 2020, at 1:30 pm.

Thank you for reading and staying informed!

 Al Siebring, Mayor
Municipality of North Cowichan
T 250.746.3117
E Mayor@northcowichan.ca